ST. GEORGE — In the game of basketball, there are a large number of guards, but that is a different story when it comes to size. Dixie High’s head coach Tyler Roberts said it best, “bigs are hard to find.”
Noah Lemke made his mark in Region 9 as not only the tallest player but one of the best shot blockers and rim protectors. Some would argue that he was one of the best big men in the state, and Lemke just announced that he has committed to Dixie State to continue his basketball career.
Lemke was named the Region 9 Defensive MVP by the coaches and was a St. George News first team all-region selection as well. While Lemke saw the spotlight in his senior season, it was a long journey. He only started playing basketball in the ninth grade and grew to be an integral part of the state championship team for Dixie high school this season.
He had offers from a number of junior colleges in the Pacific Northwest with the ability to be an impact player upon arrival, but Lemke wanted to stay close to home.
“Mostly just staying close to home because I have a younger brother that will be in high school next year,” Lemke said. “I just want to stay here and help him, and I know that Dixie is a good program for me.
The biggest thing that has been shown from Lemke has been his vast improvement, not just through a couple of seasons, but through his senior season. His ability as a rim protector improved rapidly as the season went on while his timing on both the defensive end and offensive end continued to improve.
That improvement climaxed in the state tournament where Roberts really saw his recruitment pick up. When St. George News talked to Roberts and Lemke earlier in the season, most of the interest for his recruitment was coming from junior colleges. That changed pretty quickly.
“As the year went on, more and more teams started wanting him,” Roberts said. “Really what I think set him apart was the state tournament. I even got some calls from Utah State because they saw the way he played against Sky View. Coach Wardenburg at SUU loved Noah also and kind of offered him a walk on position there at SUU.”
That is a major aspect of the recruiting trail for college coaches. They want to see skill out of a high school player, but another big part of it is how they will improve as they are brought into the college ranks. Roberts made it known that the sky is the limit for Lemke.
Moving into a Division I program, Lemke will be coached at a high level while playing against a high level of competition on a daily basis. While his growth has been immense at the high school level, his growth at Dixie State will likely top it.
“I’m excited for it,” Lemke said. “I know playing at Dixie high school there’s some competition, but I know that going to play college I’ll improve so much faster playing against bigger and better guys.”
As for the fact that the Trailblazers will be moving to the WAC and Division I competition, Lemke said it definitely played a factor in his decision-making process.
“That’s big because I’ve only played for four years and nobody thought I could play college basketball until next year so going Division I is big for me,” Lemke said.
Roberts described Lemke as still very raw with a “ton” of potential.
Another thing Roberts brought up is Lemke’s age. He is young for a high school senior, and this also played a role in his decision to stay close to home.
Lemke is looking forward to seeing his friends who are juniors play next season while they will have the ability to make the short trip to Dixie State to watch him play. Another added bonus to staying close to home.
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